I found this sitting in my e-mail today. I thought it was too good not to share.
It’s a short but sweet truth from Mr. Lemmon himself.
I’m sitting here filthy sick, and I have been for 6 days now. Coughing has become as involuntary as breathing and it’s made me contemplate. Sometimes I wonder what the benefit of getting sick is. What I’ve come to realize is that it’s to humble me, to get me back on track. I’ve found myself thinking the most about what I’ve gained from my mission and what I didn’t gain. I’ve realized that what I haven’t gained seems the most important in the long haul.
1. I didn’t gain constant Health.
From 2008 to 2010 I served in multiple townships and cities in South Africa and Swaziland (ever heard of it?) I got tick bite fever, I got struck by the flu at least a few times, and I tore 2 ligaments in my right knee which threatened my early return. Contrary to popular belief we’re not protected by a constant bubble of safety, but subject to the dangers of the world. It’s how we react to the adversity and how we find joy through physical, mental, or emotional pains that ultimately shapes us.
2. I didn’t gain a testimony. Now let me explain before you judge. I didn’t gain a testimony of the gospel out on the mission field. I gained my testimony from 19 years of preparation. From primary, to Sunday school, to serving in the priesthood, reading the scriptures with family, going to seminary faithfully and standing up for what I believe in on countless occasions. Testimonies grow on missions, of course, but how much more effective would a teacher be if fully prepared? Would a soldier go into battle without the necessary weaponry and tools?
3. I didn’t gain any glory. Before I went on this great adventure I imagined myself as a powerful spiritual warrior who would convince anyone and everything that Jesus is the Christ and I would return home with praise and applause. How selfish and ignorant was that initial thought? All of the glory goes to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for this is His work and I am His servant. I love this scripture:
I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.
4. I didn’t gain anything
That’s the point, really. Serving as a missionary is meant to be a selfless endeavor. It’s meant to be the time in life where everything that’s given isn’t expected back in the least. You’re God’s hands for two years–tirelessly working, serving, and expecting nothing.
Let me assure you, serving a mission was the most productive and truly joyful 2 years of my life and I encourage all worthy to go.
If it is not an option for you I encourage you to serve in other ways.
Stop thinking about yourself.
And in turn, you will gain more than you can imagine.
To read more from Mr. Lemmon visit –> the8ways2.com
10 thoughts on “Everything I didn’t gain on my Mormon mission: A word from Mr. Lemmon”
Thank you for being so unselfish. That’s what a mission is all about, serving and expecting nothing in return.
This is the way we should see all of our service. Thank you for sharing.
Take care of yourself. The people really need somebody like you. I don’t know if I have as much courage.
How lekker! I’m currently reading this wonderful post from East London, South Africa (my homeland). 🙂 I agree with all of Mr. Lemmon’s sentiments. My husband likes to remind the Elders that serving a mission is not your gift to God, it’s God’s gift to you. If you ever have the opportunity to visit SAFRICA, I highly recommend doing so together and visiting where he served and the people he served/taught. Can be an incredible spiritual experience as a couple.
Thank you. My son is on a mission in South Carolina. I am forwarding this to him.
I hope it will help him. Missions are not easy but most surely worth it.
Truth… all of it! Thanks for sharing this!
My son reports to the South Africa MTC Sept 18th and will be serving just a mission over from Mr. Lemmon’s in Cape Town. !!!! Again, you are an answer to unspoken prayers that have touched my heart deeply. Thank you for sharing!
Your son will do great. South Africa is a beautiful land with humble people. Many are ready, waiting for him.
Wonderful! This is how we should view all service to others inside and outside of the church. Give all the glory to Heavenly Father and allow the Spirit to do the testifying of the Gospel’s truth.